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Volume Declines Again, Values Keep Rising

By John Burnham, YachtWorld Editorial Director

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U.S. brokerage sales tailed off 4 percent in December compared to the same month in 2015, with 1,537 boats sold, a 72-boat decline. Yet the total value of sales increased 7 percent, with $274.8 million changing hands, according to reports by YachtWorld members in SoldBoats. 

The lower volume in sales was caused mainly by a decline in the number smaller boats sold. For boats under 26 feet, sales were down 10 percent, with 333 boats sold. Among boats 26 to 35 feet, the decline was 6 percent, with 566 boats sold. Combined, sales volume in the two size ranges was 74 boats less than in December 2015, and modest increases in most of the other size ranges could by no means make up the difference. 

The higher dollar value of sales in December was due to gains in four of six size ranges. A 3-boat increase in sales of boats over 80 feet delivered the biggest increase, $14 million, even though the average price paid dropped for boats in the size range declined from $5.7 to $5.4 million. 

Perhaps more significant, while 1 percent more boats 36 to 45 feet were sold their total valuation rose 12 percent. The total price paid for the 443 boats sold was $68.1 million, up from $60.7 million in December 2015. A smaller $2.3 million gain was made among boats 46 to 55 feet. 

Among all boats 45 feet and shorter, higher average prices also contributed, despite the generally lower sales. In the under-26-foot range, average prices increased 10 percent to $28,360. In the 26-to-35-foot range, the average price was up 9 percent, to $69,453. 

For the year, comparing all of 2016 with all of 2015, sales volume decreased 3 percent from 30,223 to 29,431 boats sold. The aggregate price paid increased 1 percent from $3.7 to $3.73 billion.


—John Burnham 

Note: A version of this article first appeared in Soundings Trade Only Today.

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